Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy
Editor 

Worland schools preparing for solar eclipse

 

July 22, 2017



WORLAND — While Worland is not in the path of totality for the rare solar eclipse coming Aug. 21, Washakie County School District No. 1 administrators are preparing for partial viewing.

Superintendent David Nicholas told the board Wednesday that the district purchased 1,600 eclipse safety glasses. With the path of totality so near (53 seconds in Thermopolis and more than two minutes in Boysen State Park, Nicholas said, “This is no small thing.”

He said they want to try and accommodate viewing for students and staff but added, “We can’t sent 10 buses through Wind River Canyon.” Nicholas also said that if teachers want the day off the district will try and accommodate requests but they must be able to find substitutes.

East Side Principal Chris Peterson said he spoke with the president of the parent-teacher organization and was told that some parents are already planning to take their children out of school that day in order to watch the eclipse.

The eclipse is on Monday, Aug. 21, classes begin Aug. 17.

Michael Pierce, a UW associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said, a total solar eclipse is when the moon’s shadow touches the Earth and blankets portions of it in total darkness for a few moments. In essence, the sun, moon and Earth align. A person in the dark part of that shadow, known as the umbra, will see a total eclipse. A person in the light part, called the penumbra, will see a partial eclipse.

The last total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States occurred Feb. 26, 1979 — more than 37 years ago. This next one will start in Oregon and move in a southeasterly direction all the way to South Carolina, Pierce says.

The southern part of Grand Teton National Park will be one of the best places in the entire country to view the eclipse, according to the website Eclipse2017.org. On the centerline, the park will experience 2:20 of totality at about 11:35 a.m.

The shadow will then cross Pavillion (at 11:38 a.m.), and Shoshoni and Riverton (at 11:39 a.m.) in Fremont County for about 2:23 before landing squarely on the city of Casper in Natrona County. The centerline will pass right over the intersection of Highway 220 and South Poplar Street in Casper at 11:42 a.m., and provides viewers there with 2:26 in totality.

Statewide there are 12 counties that fall in the band of total eclipse — Teton, Lincoln, Sublette, Fremont, Hot Springs, Natrona, Carbon, Converse, Albany, Platte, Niobrara and Goshen.

Thermopolis falls in the band of totality, which is the area where the eclipse can be viewed in its entirety. “Totality will be at about 11:40 a.m. While we are on the edge of totality we will indeed have totality. In Thermopolis we will have about 53 seconds of total coverage. We will start to see the moon crossing in front of the sun about 10:20 that morning,” Hot Springs County Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Gordon said in an earlier interview.

 
 

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